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Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Empoli

Game day again!

Juventus v Atalanta - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Getty Images

Six long and eventful days have passed since Juventus last played a game.

During that time, there has been a whole lot of Juventus talk dominating the internet spectrum. Some of it had to do with the major players in Juve’s season-opening 2-2 draw against Udinese last weekend. Much more of it, though, has had to do with everything involving Juventus off the field and what the club’s now-former top earner, Cristiano Ronaldo, was going to do in the final days of the transfer window.

We know how the Ronaldo saga has ended, and it involved a private jet off to Lisbon before Manchester United announced the Portuguese superstar’s return to the Red Devils.

We’re still waiting to see how Juventus will rebound from the 2-2 season-opening draw to Udinese last weekend. And that’s why tonight’s game, Juve’s return to playing in front of fans at the Allianz Stadium when Empoli comes to town, is quite an important one. It’s not the headline-grabbing fixture that we will see Juventus play in Serie A coming out of the upcoming international break, but it’s very much important for the simple fact that Juventus needs to get back up off the mat and begin this post-Ronaldo era.

The Juventus we see tonight will not be at full strength. There are players missing due to injury as well as some still working their way into the squad.

But what this squad is set to do, no matter of who is called up for tonight’s game, is going to set out to begin a new era of Juventus football without one of the biggest stars of the game on the roster. One game — especially against Empoli — will not be the determining factor in how and where Max Allegri will be driving this ship, but with Ronaldo now out of the picture, it’s safe to say that Allegri 2.0 can truly get going.

It all begins tonight. And after so many things happening off the field the last couple of days, seeing Juventus back on the field — and back in front of fans at their home stadium — is something that we should welcome with open arms.

Hopefully they play worthy of that notion, too.

MATCH INFO

When: Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021

Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time; 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time

STARTING LINEUPS

Juventus starting XI (4-3-1-2? 4-3-3?): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Danilo, Rabiot; McKennie; Dybala, Chiesa

Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Morata, Pellegrini, Bernardeschi, Rugani, Locatelli, Fagioli, Ranocchia, Kulusevski

Empoli starting XI (4-3-1-2): Vicar; Stojanovic, Ismajli, Luperto, Marchizza; Haas, Ricci, Bandinelli; Bajrami; Mancuso, Cutrone

Empoli bench: Brignoli, Furlan, Stulac, Romagnoli, Henderson, La Mantia, Fiamozzi, Tonelli, Zurkowski, Vitti, Parisi, Pinamonti

HOW TO WATCH

Television: BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom)

Online/mobile: Paramount+ (United States); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (United Kingdom); DAZN (Italy)

Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.